It’s raining apps
Consumer behavior is rapidly shifting as smartphones become more mainstream and less reserved for the tech savviest of consumers. Americans now turn on their phones with making calls as almost a secondary function to the apps that tell them within two seconds if they need an umbrella, or apps that show them their newest email, tweet or Facebook friends’ updates.
Consumers have to choose between the mobile web version of a website, or a mobile app. For example, people can type in “https://twitter.com” into the smartphone browser or click the Twitter app button on their phone. One takes a moment to load and requires typing whereas the other (the app) requires one click and some thumb swipes.
Consumers prefer apps
So the question is- what do consumers now prefer? Are consumers spending more time using their web browser for everything or have apps become second nature already?
According to first-reported data from Nielsen Smartphone Analytics, the average Android user in America averages 56 minutes every day actively interacting with the web and apps on their smartphone, with two thirds of that time devoted to apps.
Is everyone using the same ten apps?
There are very few apps that make up the majority of the time spent, leaving hundreds of apps barely used. “In fact,” Nielsen reports, “the top 10 Android apps account for 43 percent of all the time spent by Android consumers on mobile apps.”
The top 50 apps account for 61 percent of all time spent on apps by Android users and as of this week, the remaining 249,950+ apps in the Android Market compete for the remaining 39 percent of use.
Androids and you
Realtors are now struggling with whether or not they should develop a mobile application for their business, as are brokers and franchises. Some already have and are having success with their Android apps.
What the Nielsen study reveals a major challenge- Android users are congregating around very very few apps, likely the social media apps (Twitter and Facebook), email apps (Gmail) and native apps (weather, maps). Some brokerages will tuck tail and run while others will recognize that no real estate application will ever dominate any non-Realtor’s app use given the infrequency of any real estate transaction in a consumer’s life.
That said, the hopeful news in this study is that consumers are choosing apps over web use in high volume, and agents and brokers that are investing in premium listings on the real estate search sites (which are the highest performing real estate apps, above and beyond brokerages’) will benefit along with brokerages/franchises that offer useful tools for buyers and sellers above and beyond basic search.
We are closely watching the progress of all apps, be they Android or iPhone as this study clearly shows a preference for using them over the often clunky mobile web experience.
LG G Flex will have a curved display: why it even matters
The LG G Flex is exciting as it is curved, but there are much deeper implications of this announcement that your company should take note of before your competitors do.
LG G Flex to feature curved display
You may have heard that Samsung will launch a smartphone with a curved display (although they’ve so far fallen short on their plans to produce their smartphone prototype that is completely flexible), but did you know that LG is hot on their heels, with rumors of the LG G Flex launching this November?
As depicted above, what is believed to be called the LG G Flex is similar to a standard smartphone in shape, with just a slight curve, using plastic OLED screen technology
CNET reports that sources close to the project say the G Flex will have a six-inch display and November is the projected unveiling, but that could always be pushed back (although to be in time for the holiday shopping season, we suspect it will be a November launch).
Samsung will likely unveil their curved display phone this month, and there are rumors that the Galaxy Note 3 could feature a curved display as well.
Curved does not equal flexible
So why develop a curved display? Analysts point to the device actually fitting around your face naturally for making calls, and others note that it fits in a rear pocket more comfortably with a curve.
Curved does not equal flexibility, though, as the devices are still stationary, but the reason the LG G Flex being curved matters to you is that mass production of this type of technology is the precursor to what’s coming next – flexible devices.
Looking into a crystal ball
LG already introduced a curved 55-inch OLED tv panel, and was first to the finish line with the ability to mass produce fully flexible plastic screens, announced last year with their electronic paper display (EPD) product, sold overseas.
The LG EPD is not just flexible, allowing the screen to bend up to 40 degrees from its center, it is a 6 inch, 1024 x 768 e-ink plastic screen. The technology used mimics the way traditional ink appears on paper, which many prefer over the backlit flat panel displays of tablets and computers. The EPD is only 0.7mm thick, weighs 14 grams (that’s 1/33 of a pound) and is said to be scratch resistant when dropped.
Flexibility is next, and it is relevant for your brand not just for the novelty of having a flexible device, but because the way people interact with your website or app could be changing sooner than you might suspect.
iPhone 6 concepts beginning to emerge
With all the hub-bub about iOS 7 and iPhone 5, several iPhone 6 concepts have emerged. The most prominent feature is the wrap around screen.
Looking into the future
Whether you are an Android lover or an Apple fanatic, people love to fantasize about what the newest phone release will bring, from hologram keyboards, an added projector, and so forth. As for the iPhone 6, the most common feature designers and fans think it will have is the wrap around screen. AGBeat has featured this concept several times, and while it has yet to become reality, there seems to be high hope for the iPhone 6 release.
Dribble users have designed and shared several concept models, all of which have the wrap around screen, also known as the infinity screen. This design allows a more engaged user experience, by removing the side casing. The sides have a flat, touch-responsive volume control and a much thinner design overall. And some additional revisions (based upon Cladio Guglieri’s original) have included wifi, Bluetooth, do not disturb, airplane mode, and rotation lock icons, right on the side.
These additions give you instant access to your most used controls, without the need to tap through to gain access to the settings screen. Also, with the extra features, the opposite side of the phone shows your message status, emails, and music controls. DeviantArt also has multiple postings of the infinity screen design. This is absolutely amazing to me because there is so much information in such a limited amount of space. The thickness of the phone in the concept states 0.30 inches; it is really hard to believe an email icon can fit and be legible, but it does.
Other futuristic possibilities
There are also several versions that include aluminum plus carbon fiber casing, in many different variations. Although most still remove the edges from the iPhone 5 design. Behance users have also created several examples of this design concept. With touch sensors wrapping the display edge, concept designers believe no borders means nothing between your hands and the display. And they hope accidental gestures can be prevented with the sensors, although this is just a concept. You certainly would not want to pick the phone up to answer a call from your boss and accidentally start your iTunes playlist.
The only problem I see with this beautiful design is protecting the edges, despite designers touting the durability of the new technologies. As someone who frequently drops their phone, and attempts to keep it safe by using a protective case, I wonder how you can utilize the edges, but still keep the phone safe. Also, I would be interested to see, how often holding the phone triggers the side sensors. Otherwise, I think the wrap around design is both beautifully functional and a long overdue, welcome feature.
Contacts+ app adds productivity to any Android
Android users: Contacts+ is a great new way to manage your contacts, making a potentially frustrating process simple and streamlined, adding productivity to your phone.
Contacts+ is more than a contact manager
Contacts+ is more than just a contact manager though, it is also a dialer app and combines photos with information from all your connected services: WhatsApp, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Contacts+ is a welcome alternative to the Andriod favorite Smartr. Since Smartr was recently acquired by Yahoo!, Contacts+ could not have come at a better time.
You can send free and regular messages without switching apps, sync pictures to your contacts, including cover photos, from Facebook and get birthday reminders.
How the app works
With optimization for both Android phone and tablets, you have the ability to sort your contacts in a variety of ways without worrying if you will be able to see all the data. You can sort by groups, favorites, smart contact (prioritization by frequency or A-Z), and search message history of your contact from one place. If you happen to have the same contact in your phone more than once, Contacts+ will sync them together to save you any confusion.
One tap opens a contact card, and then you can tap again to make calls or email them. Once the contact card is open, you can also catch up on their social media life. Leo from Contacts+ writes, “they have a sync process with Facebook and Google+, essentially users connect their accounts (authentication is performed securely through the respective service) and once an account is connected, Contacts+ links and syncs contacts based on unique identifiable information, enabling them to automatically connect your contacts and their identities.”.
New features have been added
The newest features include high res picture sync, a new black theme, T9 search in the call log, Dialer+ shortcut that can be opened over your call log/contacts screen, the ability to call back directly from the incoming message pop up and ignore accents improvements.
The only drawback is that some of the “sorting” features are a bit harder to find. You will need to tap through a couple of different options to find the ability to sort by last name, for example. But, once you get used to it, it really is a nice way to manage your contacts. Contacts+ is free in the Google Play store.
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